December 11, 2014

What Managed Service Providers Should Expect in 2015
Just about every managed service provider (MSP) will say that the industry is anything but predictable. New tools and platforms complicate more traditional integrations and infrastructures, client expectations keep increasing, and the competition is always trying out new things. That can be especially nerve-wracking, considering that a third of MSPs have seven or more direct competitors. But as MSPs look toward 2015, the horizon is bright. Recent research from Kaseya shows that 90 percent of MSPs say that they expect to increase or maintain managed service pricing for next year. So demand isn’t slowing down by any means and businesses are clearly seeing some growth.

Oracle Continues to Beat the Cloud Drum
Along with the hard work of getting its software onto the cloud, Oracle officials also are working to help customers make the move to the cloud—through such efforts as its Customer 2 Cloud program—and to convince them that Oracle is the company to make the move with. The vendor is doing this from a position of strength: most enterprises run Oracle databases or some enterprise applications, and many are looking to migrate some workloads to the cloud to take advantage of the speed and costs benefits. Oracle also touts the benefits of running the Oracle solutions atop its engineered hardware systems—such as Exalogic and Exadata—in cloud environments.

Mesosphere Turns Data Center into One Huge Computer
Mesosphere does a lot of complex things but makes them look really easy. For example, Chronos is a distributed and fault-tolerant job scheduler that supports complex job topologies. The tool is normally used by sophisticated engineers, but Mesosphere makes it dead simple to install it on a Mesosphere cluster and use it across data centers. VMware recently integrated Mesosphere with VMware vSphere to help run applications and services at scale. “Mesosphere will have a positive impact on the data center,”Kit Colbert, VMware’s vice president and CTO for cloud-native apps, said via email. “As applications become more distributed, their scale and complexity will increase.”

Real-Time Network Analytics for Intelligent Infrastructure
Life changes dramatically after a disaster when there’s no fresh water or electricity available. Refrigerators don’t stay cold, and the food inside spoils. Gas stations can’t pump gas, grocery stores can’t sell groceries, and credit cards are worthless. And yet an observer who went inside someone’s damaged home to start the cleanup found family members talking on their telephone. The home was as dark as night in the middle of the day, there was an inch of water on the floor, and aside from the phone conversation, it was as quiet as deep space. In spite of all the damage and loss, phone service had somehow managed to continue uninterrupted throughout the raging storm and its tragic aftermath.

The Wrong Reason To Hire More Developers
The solution is fairly simple. Companies absolutely need a core competency in maintaining, supporting, and making at least minor updates to the software they use internally and provide externally to their customers. They also need strong product expertise, and, specifically, strong technical product expertise, so that they can make sure that their software is excellent. But they don't need a core competency in developing "greenfield" software. It is much more difficult and risky to build software from scratch versus maintaining well-written code. My advice? First, try to find existing software that comes close to serving your needs, perhaps from the growing library of open source software, and customize it. Failing that, outsource greenfield development to experts.

Implementing Hypermedia
By introducing hypermedia here, we don't include all three versions of the profile image. We tell our clients that there are three possible images available, and we tell the client where it can find each image. Our client is now able to make a choice about what it wants to do, based on what it's trying to accomplish in the moment. It also does not have to download all three versions if it only wants one. We've made our payload smaller, we've increased client flexibility, and we've increased discoverability. What I'm getting at here is that you may already be deploying a teeny bit of hypermedia, you just never thought about it before.

FBI calls Sony hack 'organized' but declines to name source or finger North Korea
"I won't touch on the attribution piece because we're still working very hard on that," said Joseph Demarest, assistant director of the FBI's cyber division. Demarest's comment was in reply to questions from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) during a hearing of the Senate Banking Committee. "I think most of us were shocked at the sophistication of the breach of Sony," Schumer said. "Fingers are pointing to North Korea. It's sort of surprising that a country like North Korea, which is sophisticated in a few areas but not very sophisticated in most, would have such an amazing ability to turn a large company into a knot."

Jawbone sets up its enterprise health play with Groups
The idea here is that companies can coach their employees to be more fit---and lower health care costs. Naturally, there are likely to be a few wrinkles to ponder. Jawbone already tackled the privacy issue. UP for Groups data is aggregated and anonymous and no admin can see individual data. In addition, a group needs at least five participants to show data. Bands will be discounted for groups. You see where this is headed. Jawbone rivals will launch similar programs. Wearables will be used to track employee well-being---for discounts on health care. And the big dog to watch will be Apple with its Apple Watch. It's not much of a stretch to see an IBM-Apple partnership revolving around the Apple Watch in the future.

Think Tank Warns U.S. Surveillance Efforts Undermine IT Industry
Moran sees competing efforts by a variety of governments to protect their own companies and to allow access to U.S. data wherever it may be. These efforts could be far different, often in conflict, and would give U.S. companies no clear guidance on how to operate internationally. He warns that these trends are likely to result in the "balkanization" of IT services as foreign IT companies and governments try to use U.S. surveillance and legal policies as a lever to win competitive advantages. While comments by a variety of government sources enumerated by Moran show that the federal government has repeatedly tried to minimize the risk and subsequent damage to U.S. companies,

How AppZen disrupts expense reports with natural language processing
"As soon as he or she is back from, say, a conference, they will see a very simple notification on the phone saying that 'hey, an expense report is ready.' When they click on that, they actually see all the airlines, the car rentals, any meetings that they have had, taxis, all that stuff." Naturally, not everything can automatically be imported without assistance, so the app also has a built-in assistant that uses natural language processing and AI to determine if it needs more information about any particular expense. For example, if you note that an expense is for lunch, the app will ask you if it is with a client. If you answer "yes," the app will then ask what company the customer is from. It will then check ERP systems to see if the company is a known customer or prospect.

Quote for the day:

"Men who are in earnest are not afraid of consequences." -- Marcus Garvey

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